Trekking in the Himalayas is the experience of a lifetime - the beauty of nature, friendly local people, high altitude mountain environments - and at the end you will have a wonderful experience with memories that last forever.
Seen from above Dingboche the mountain Imja Tse (Island Peak) resembles an island in a sea of ice. It was first climbed in 1953 by a very prestigious team in preparation for the ascent of Everest. It is an interesting and attractive summit with a highly glaciated West Face rising from the Lhotse glacier.
The mountain itself is an extension of the South ridge of Lhotse Shar and is separated by a small col. Above this gap, rising to the south is a classically beautiful ridge leading to the summit of Imja Tse. As well as providing an enjoyable climb, the peak also provides some of the most striking scenery in the Khumbu region.
Island Peak (Imja Tse) Climb, is one of the most challenging and daunting expeditions to the Khumbu region. The expedition takes place on the same track that leads the way to Everest Base Camp. In fact, the itinerary goes right to the Everest Base Camp before making way towards the primary destination. Apart from this fact, the trail is filled with variations in terrain and lush green forests. A tough climb is on the cards so make sure you have trained for this particular trip. We will be discussing as to how difficult it is to climb Island Peak. But before that, let’s have a look at a few things to remember before you enter the Himalayas.
Kathmandu: The Capital City
Island Peak(Imja Tse): Introduction
How difficult is Island Peak climb?
Places to visit in Island Peak Climb
Best season to visit island Peak
Kathmandu: The Capital City
Kathmandu is not only the capital of Nepal but also the capital city of tourism in Nepal. It is a city famous for having a culture so rich that researchers from all over the world visit. They create reports and documentaries based on the traditional and cultural aspects of the Nepalese people. And quite rightly so. Kathmandu alone has numerous temples and monasteries within the city boundary. All the holy places have a historical significance of their own which makes it even more special. You can find many institutes in Kathmandu established to create awareness about their culture to the people of Nepal. Even the schools and college students hold cultural and traditional feats every once in a while.
Kathmandu is also the starting point for so many wonderful expeditions to the Himalayas. Moreover, the tourism industry remains to be the backbone of Nepal’s economy and is vital for foreign exchange and revenue. No wonder. Most of the highest peaks in the world, including the highest peak, Mt. Everest is in Nepal. These regions are not only meant for climbers and mountaineers. But it also forms the sweet spot for trekkers and recreational tourists. Not to forget the holy places like Pashupati Nath Temple and Manokamna which have special significance. On top of that the nepalese are well known for their friendly and easy going attitude. Which helps them to give the best customer service anyone can look for. Likewise, the Nepal government has also taken initiative to help boost tourism in Nepal.
Island Peak(Imja Tse) Climb: Introduction
Island Peak, also known as Imja Tse peak, stands modestly at a height of 6160m in the Khumbu region. The peak resembles an island in a sea of ice when looked upon from Dingboche, hence the name. This was in 1953 when the British Mountaineer Eric Shipton visited the region to scale the Island Peak. The trekking trail falls on the famous Everest Trail and it is possible to venture towards both the Base Camps. You can request for a modified or custom made itinerary to make this particular trip possible. A trip to the Island Peak is filled with every necessary element required to make a mountain expedition a success. The trail leads you through lush green valleys and quaint villages inhabited by the Sherpas. The trail goes through many temples and monasteries where you can offer your prayers. You can find yourself wrapped in ancient nepali and tibetan cultures while on this journey.
Since it falls on the same trail as everest Base Camp, the trail is also very well maintained by the Government. As you will be entering the Sagarmatha National Park, you will need to have a permit to proceed further. The forests you enter are filled with rhododendron trees beautifying the area with many singing birds completing the picture. You can also find fir trees and smaller shrubs in the forests. There is also a chance to come across various mountain animals on the trail. The Sagarmatha National Park has transformed the wild animals to a version of tame animals. So they don’t pose any threat when they see humans along the region. There will be a few stops along the way for the acclimatization sessions. Acclimatization is a very important session to avoid mountain sickness and adaptation in high altitudes.
How difficult is Island Peak climb?
Island Peak Climb offers an excellent opportunity to not only climb the Island Peak summit. But also to reach Everest Base Camp and a trip to Kala Patthar viewpoint which falls on the same trail. Trekking to the main destination is not so difficult as compared with the other trekking destinations in the region. Anyone fit enough to walk 5-6 hours with a 10kg rucksack can take the trip. If required, we can assign potters to carry your luggage while you walk freely during the trek. The climb of Island Peak is also not as difficult as the other peak climbing adventures. Island Peak climb can be considered as a physically difficult climb but not a technically difficult one. This means that the climbers with basic technical knowledge of climbing can participate. But the climbers need to physically fit to take the adventure. In short, you can train yourself to be physically fit for the climb 4-5 months in advance. With some basic climbing training to go along with the physical training. Apparently, the walk is on easy trail and unless you have difficulty walking uphill, there should be no problems.
Places to visit in Island Peak Climb
Your adventure begins from the city of Kathmandu. On your arrival you will be escorted to your hotel in Kathmandu. The first day will be spent in obtaining permits for entering the Sagarmatha National Park and the Khumbu region. In the evening one of our staff will conduct a briefing on the importance of acclimatization in the Himalayas. The next day, a short trip around Kathmandu’s famous sites is applicable. Where we will visit the historic sites like Pashupati Nath temple, Swayambhu Nath and the Boudha Stupa. You can prepare for the trip for the following day by doing some shopping at the marketplace in the evening.
In the morning after breakfast, we head towards the airport to take a flight towards Lukla airport. Lukla is a mountain airstrip which is tucked amidst the Himalayas and the surrounding valleys. It gives us a splendid view right before we land at the airport at Lukla. It is considered one of the highest and most dangerous airstrips in the world too. On landing, we assemble and then head for the hamlet of Phakding, our first trekking destination.
Phakding is located on the banks of river Dudh Koshi with scattered tea houses along the river bed. You can make it a choice to visit the local monastery here at Phakding surrounded by numerous prayer flags. We halt at Phakding for the night. The next day, we make our way uphill towards Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Khumbu region. The Everest trail is the main trading trail in the Khumbu region. On certain days you can find villagers carrying their trading goods on the same path. And Namche is the main trading centre in the Khumbu region.
Namche is mainly inhabited by the friendly Sherpas of the Himalayas. It is a bustling village with several lodges and tea houses scattered around the area. The region may be providing us with scenic and remote views in every corner we take. But since its a trading route, you will find the villages have amazing population and infrastructures. Many nepalis specially sherpas have settled in this region for their livelihood. Namche also falls under the Sagarmatha National Park. So now you are in a controlled zone. Night halt at one of the lodges at Namche.
Acclimatization day is then scheduled before we proceed further. There is no doubt that acclimatization is an important aspects to make your trip to the Himalayas a memorable one. As a part of the acclimatization process, you need to reach a higher elevation first. Before coming down the very same day to rest at a lower elevation. So we travel (without much luggage) to the town of Khumjung that is about 4-5 hours walk. On reaching you can enjoy the view of the whole Khumbu region and the nearby peaks. We return back to Namche after spending a few hours at the viewpoints. Next day we travel to Tengboche.
Tengboche is a popular destination for buddhist pilgrims and followers. The Tengboche Monastery is one of the largest monasteries in the Khumbu region. You can enter the tranquil vicinity of the monastery to offer your prayers and get your blessings. Along with its religious significance, the viewpoint surrounding the monastery is worth mentioning. You can get breath-taking views of the many peaks of the Khumbu region from a hill near the monastery. Tengboche is also known as Thyanboche by the common people of the region. We halt for the night in the village.
We travel towards Dingboche next, leading the path to the broad but sloping valley.
We go past Phalang Karpo and past small streams and huge boulders. After almost 5 hours, and we reach the village of Dingboche. On the way you walk past few forests laden with rhododendron and fir trees. If your lucky you might come across some animals along the path. We have a long trek the next day and we halt at Dingboche for the night.
The next day, we leave for Gorak Shep and we also visit the Everest Base Camp along the way. The trekking trail is mostly uphill and the trail gives us magnificent views of Tawachee and Cholatse. You come across a row of stone monuments built to commemorate the brave souls who died while climbing Mt. Everest. Once you reach Lobuche, the trail takes a steep turn. And before you reach the pathway leading to Gorak Shep that is actually a huge rock.
To reach the top, we will need to walk on the huge rock, which can be a bit tough at first.
On reaching Gorak Shep, we rest for sometime. Free of our luggage, we then make our way towards Everest Base Camp. You are walking on a high altitude location, so it is advised to walk at your own pace. At the famous Everest Base Camp, you can explore the huge space beneath the highest peak. During climbing season, you might even find some climbers attempting to climb one of the peaks. From the very spot you stand, history was created a long time ago. You can reminisce on the thoughts one might have before scaling Everest for the first time. You will not be able to see the summit from the base camp, but we will venture to a point where we can. That however is for the next day. We return back to the village of Gorak Shep to rest for the night.
The next day, we take an early trip to Kala Patthar. Sunrise is over pretty quickly in the Himalayas. So if you don’t want to miss the magical phenomenon, we need to get there before dawn. Kala Patthar is the best vantage point to view the peaks of Mt. Everest at a close distance. When the sun rays fall on the summit, the transition of colours is absolutely phenomenal. Once you witness the magic, we head back to Gorak Shep and have our breakfast. Then we make our way towards Island Peak, our primary destination.
On reaching the Island Peak Base Camp, we set up base and rest for the night. The day can be spent as an acclimatization session where you can stroll around the camp. Not as big as the Everest Base Camp, but it is considerably large. There might be another party trying an attempt already. The next day, we will conduct a basic Island Peak climbing training before we attempt on making the climb. Once the training is finished, the experts will guide you to make the climb. Once everyone has successfully reached the summit, we fall back and rest for the day at the base camp itself.
The next day we bid goodbye, pack our belongings, then make our way towards Tengboche. From hereon, it is all downhill walk along the Khumbu region. We retrace our steps back the same we came before. We halt for the night at Tengboche, then make our way towards Namche bazaar. There will not be another acclimatization session here, but you can explore the places you couldn’t visit the first time. After a day’s stay, we travel further down towards Phakding first, crossing the many suspended bridges. We have our lunch there, and then head towards Lukla airport. This sums up the trekking part of your Island Peak Climbing adventure.
We halt for a night at a lodge in Lukla. The next day, we take our scheduled flight to Kathmandu. You will be taken to your hotel here. You have the whole day to yourself. You can take a stroll and go shopping. There are numerous shops where you get something for your loved ones, as a momento. You can explore the handicrafts and traditional items in almost all the shops there. In the evening, we will conduct a farewell dinner for a great trip we had with nepali delicacies. Come morning, depending on your flight schedule, you will be taken to the airport for your departure. This brings us to the end of an exciting journey in the Himalayas, until next time.
Best season to visit island Peak
The climate of the Himalayas is rather unpredictable. The information below is as per the past few years of experience in this region. But since elevation takes its toll, the weather might be subject to change without notice. During the monsoons, the rain makes it very difficult to walk and to view the scenery. The rain falls at torrential speed and most of the trails are muddy as well as slippery. Vision is blurry due to the mist and fog in the area. Experiencing fever and cold is predictable during this time. Sickness can lead to worse diseases if not tended to quickly. The altitude also doesn’t help if you are sick in the first place.
In Winter season, it is extremely cold, so much so the path is frozen and becomes slippery to even walk on it. The fog blurs the view of the mountains and the valleys. Possibility of landslides and avalanches are also there in the Khumbu region during winters. Due to the cold, most tourists stay away from the place. Therefore almost all the tea houses and lodges remain closed during this time of the year. Snow storm is also inevitable in most parts of the region.
Therefore, the best time to visit this location is during the Spring season and Autumn season. During the Spring, the view is clear and the path as well. The forests are in full bloom, which is a pretty sight to witness. You can also run across many mountain animals during this time of the year. The weather is also peaceful and it is not as cold as compared with the winter season. Most of the tourists prefer this time of the year for a visit.
Autumn is another season when the weather is at its best. The rain washes the path clear and everything is fresh after the monsoon showers. The views are brilliant and the landscapes bursting with lush green vegetation. Animals also find solace in coming out during the autumn season. The days are relatively peaceful and warm with the sun shining bright above your heads. The nights can become a bit cold, but nothing the tea houses and their services cannot handle. Walking during this time is also relaxing and the breeze will take your mind off your tiredness.